Local News

Avon Park pageant event dedicated to health issue

AVON PARK - Miss Avon Park 2012 Breauna Washington remembers her grandmother, Janet Horsham, as a kind, giving person. Horsham passed away during open-heart surgery in August 2012. For every story of loss there is one of triumph, like that of Jr. Miss Avon Park 2012 Taylor Massey's mother, Renae, who had a heart transplant in 2011 and is recovering. Realizing that the fight against the world's biggest killer is deeply personal, Breauna and Taylor have come together to raise money and awareness in the fight against heart disease.
The reigning pageant winners get to choose a theme for their farewell pageant, where their successors are crowned. Instead of doing a typical pageant theme, the two have decided to do a charity event to support GoRed for Women with Heart Disease, a nonprofit group that raises awareness and money to fight heart disease. The idea came about when Breauna was brainstorming pageant theme ideas with her mother, Kimberlie. Breauna launched the plan with a National Wear Red Day event Feb. 1 at Walker Memorial Academy, where she is a junior and where her grandmother worked. Most of her classmates wore red to support the cause, and donation containers were placed in classrooms. At the pageant, on April 27, Breauna will be wearing red and so will the contestants in the opening number. Renae Massey said the pageant coordinator is looking at getting red shirts for the girls and to sell to the public. The shirts will likely be sold at the Springtime on the Mall festival in Avon Park March 22 and 23, where the two will have a booth. The two are also inviting donations and sponsorships from the community to support their cause. While Renae Massey is still looking for a red dress for her daughter, she expects a lot of red at the pageant. Both her grandmother and dad also were afflicted with heart disease, and the fight against it is personal to her in many ways, she said. To donate or sponsor, call Kimberlie Washington at (863) 414-1540.